Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Put My Son’s Name on a Bomb (2)

Dialogue with Super-Patriotic America

This post is a study of some of the debating tactics of misguided (and misguiding) American super-patriots. It stems from the discussion of my previous post. Amid all the noise of a lively debate, the main points of the debate were lost to most. This post is an outline of that debate without the noise… to illustrate those tactics.


Over the past year, I was frequently taken aback by the ferocity of the attacks (and, sometimes the abuse) directed at me when criticizing the policies of the present American administration in Iraq. I was fascinated by those people. I began calling them ‘American Saddamists’ because they cannot distinguish between country and government… or leader.

The Setup and the Case Study

It began when I became aware of the story of a retired policeman who wanted to put the name of his son, who was killed in 9/11, on a bomb going to Iraq.

After confirming the transaction and being convinced of the basic facts, I sent an angry letter to the father, Wilton Sekzer, and copied Gary Gorman, another NYPD retired officer who had forwarded Sekzer’s request to the army. My aim was to let Mr. Sekzer know the disastrous results of his action.

There were some discrepancies. So I published the original transaction, my letter and Mr. Gorman’s response and invited a discussion to find the truth.

The facts were all there. I gave a lead to the search. I wanted to see how people would react. I admit to being slightly “wicked”! But I hope that the ensuing reactions and discussion justified my action. I expected those American Saddamists to attack the story without verifying the facts first. From my limited experience with them, I knew that they blindly attack anything that smells of any criticism of their country, their administration… or even a fellow citizen. I know… because they have been pestering me for months. They did not fail me! The ability to predict is one of the most important criteria of testing a theory!

In the main post, I gave the following lead:

“I did a Google search of the term “put my son’s name on a bomb” and found several links. I followed a few of them to confirm the transaction which troubled me deeply. Please do your own search and follow the links for full details of the exchange of e-mail messages.”

That lead was ignored.

Judgment that the transaction was false or was an urban legend was hastily passed and I was the recipient of generous advice not to jump to hasty conclusions before checking the facts!

I had to give another, more specific lead. That produced similar results and more recrimination!

When, mainly through the efforts of one particular decent American, the story was confirmed to be authentic, there was still no admission of fault, no apology of any kind… but more attacks!!

Unbelievable? Well, it is the truth. The whole exchange is there in the comments section of the previous post. I have also placed a skeleton of the main threads in an appendix at the end of this post. It had the following characteristics:

1. Debate through “assuming and attacking” regardless of the facts: basically attacking the message (and sometimes the messenger) without any evidence… assuming that they can argue their way out of any situation by adapting the appropriate (moral, condescending, superior or patronizing) attitude.

2. Refutation by association: discrediting a story by mentioning other ‘false’ stories put out by the enemy camp.

3. Oblique sense of justice: basically “We are humane, just and compassionate – but that only applies to our own… and to hell with everybody else”. In this case I was fascinated by the blame that was poured on me for sending such a harsh letter to Mr. Sekzer to avenge my friend in response to his sending me a bomb to avenge his son!

4. Never admitting defeat: This is so reminiscent of Saddam. There is no dignity in defeat. Therefore, always claim victory even when you lose miserably. Never admit to defeat.

I have expanded these points in the Appendix for those interested in some detail.


• If you state anything that super-patriots regard as an attack or even a criticism, they will take an attacking position and strike back, regardless of the facts. If you criticize their lot, you have to be wrong.

• It is an extremely difficult task to convince some American Saddamists of something even if you have irrefutable proof.

• It is unlikely that much of the body of American Saddamists will change their mind even in the face of emerging proofs and unavoidable evidence.

What is this? Tribalism? I happen to be quite familiar with tribalism. This is far worse.

This is so sad! I am increasingly getting the impression that such people do exist in large numbers in the States. What is bad is that they are more vocal than ordinary people. What is worse is that they seem to be quite influential in supporting the course where America is heading, particularly regarding foreign policy. (Whether it is heading where they want or whether they simply applaud where it is heading is an interesting question.)

But of course it is frequently said that these people do not represent America. True!

They only represent the self-centered, self-righteous America that most of the world can see and mistrust. They represent the ugly, incompetent and manipulative America that most Iraqis can see and hate. They represent the America that has devastated my country and killed and maimed many thousands of my people as well as a few thousands of its own… and feels justified in doing so.

A good minority of decent America can see what is happening but there is not much that they can do about it. The rest of America, watches Fox News and waits for developments!



1. Main Comment Thread:

Some people found it difficult to see the main arguments in that debate through all the noise! Some people intentionally did not want to see either the trees or the forest!

Here is a condensed version of the main thread within that debate. I have corrected linguistic errors and broken down long paragraphs to make the arguments clearer. If you feel that I may have taken the quotes out of context, you can read the original complete transaction in the comment section of the previous post.

All you need is some sense of humor to appreciate the ‘subtleties’ of this ‘debate’.

Brian H: Apparently you were the enthusiastic victim of an urban legend. You believed because you wanted to believe.
Anon: Don't follow the "urban legend" thought. If Gorman's reply is genuine, the basic facts of the story are confirmed…

Abu Khaleel: I probably believed because many other similar bombs killed many innocent people.

Brian H: … To start with, the bomb fell in Afghanistan, not Iraq. Which is, you may recall, where the Taliban and Al Quaeda were in charge? So the Iraqi's outrage is totally out to lunch, because he believed a "legendized" version of the story which transplanted the bomb to Iraq. Got it yet?

[Brian H disappeared without further notice after this authoritative interjection.]

Lynn in the US: Urban legends go both ways here's another:

[… quite a long post relating some silly, unbelievable story, to put it on the same footing as the case in hand]

Lynn in the US: Abu Khaleel, I did a Google search on this as well. Google came up with 5 different links all originating from the same site http://www.albasrah.net/ ...
Hardly an unbiased news agency.

Don't be so quick to believe everything that you read.

Abu Khaleel: … I gave you a lead for an investigation. You saw albasrah.net and made important conclusions. BTW my Google gives not 5 but 59 links….

Here is another lead: the BBC documentary “Why we fight” interviewed the retired police officer. Please let me know if you need some more help.

Lynn in the US: Abu Khaleel, … you believe and get upset by something that that website, albasrah.net put out for that very purpose.

I'm not saying that a version of it was not true but it was put out by that website intentionally to get your rage up just as that other thing that I had posted was put out in order to incite hatred for Arabs living in this country.

[still obsessed with that wretched website..]

Of course Google came up with more than just five hits. But the majority of them were only related because they contained the words son or bomb or name…

[Obviously Lynn did not Google the “phrase” (“put my son’s name on a bomb”) but the string (put my son’s name on a bomb) in which case Google gives about 100, 000 results… yet Lynn manages to look through them and finds only 5 links all pointing to albasrah.net… Still making conclusions based upon that fact and offering free advice. She still does not bother with the BBC lead I gave.]

[After some verification of the main point is established by other contributors, most notably Bob Griffin…]

Abu Khaleel: So far, I hope that the existence of the main characters, as well as ‘some’ original request letter, have all been established. I hope that we can discard the ‘urban legend’ scenario.

Lynn in the US: I'm sorry Abu Khaleel but it WAS an urban legend. Wasn't it? Urban legends do not have to be totally false in order to be urban legends.

[Almost an irrational insistence on the ‘urban legend’ scenario in the face of damning proof]

It was proven to you that that bomb was not being sent to Iraq but to Afghanistan and Osama.

[ “proven”!!!! I have no idea what constitutes “proof” in pro-war America these days… but something sounds extremely wrong here!]

and then when your friend e-mailed you this "urban legend" version of a factual story you believed it and "Almost immediately I wrote an (extremely) angry message" to this grieving father. Had you been a bit more skeptical about things you might not have worded your letter in such a manner.

[Forgetting that in the original post, a few paragraphs above I clearly stated that I had verified the transaction.]

… You do realize that that kind of temper, judging too quickly and becoming immediately angry, is detrimental to civilized society?

[Based on these profound conclusions… another free lecture about civilized society. I must say I loved this one.]

Bob Griffin: Lynn, It appears based on the various references I found that it wasn't an urban legend, and at the time we were about to go into Iraq and were no longer focusing on Afghanistan.

Have you checked the references I posted? You might take the time to do a Google search on Officer Wilton Seckzer, the man whose idea is being discussed… From one item… http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast/04/10/sprj.irq.ny.rally/

NY rallies at Ground Zero for troops…

'Construction worker William Sekzer's son, Jason, died September 11. He attended the rally because he believes the terrorist attack is connected to the war on Iraq.

"What do you want as proof?" Sekzer asked. "Do you want Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Osama bin Laden?"

So Lynn, given the attitude shown by Officer Sekzer in April, 2003, it seems quite likely that Officer Sekzer was happy with the idea of targeting Iraq…

Abu Khaleel: Lynn, In addition to Bob’s links, may I suggest that you follow the link I have already given you. The procedure is quite simple: On Google search [ bbc “why we fight” iraq ] The FIRST item on the list will be:


Wilton Sekzer, Retired officer, NYPD

Wilton's son died on 9/11. After George Bush explained that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks, Wilton emailed all branches of the armed forces to ask if his son's name could be written on a bomb to be dropped on Iraq.

May I respectfully ask you again not to be too hasty.

Charles: Why doesn't someone just watch the documentary?

Abu Khaleel: Charles, Thank you for finally getting there! I hope that we have just shown that Mr. Zesker actually asked for the bomb to be dropped on IRAQ. The man is on tape!

Lynn in the US: Abu Khaleel, You ask me not to be too hasty yet that is exactly what I am saying to you.

[No apology, no retraction; just more attacks]

Had YOU researched this story I don't think that you would have sent off that e-mail to the man. My being too hasty did not cause any pain to anyone. Other's hastiness leads to WARS.

[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ]

The link that you gave me for the BBC documentary did not give enough detail about the documentary… I haven't seen this BBC documentary so I will not pass judgment on it. However, just because something is labeled a "documentary" does not automatically make it an unbiased piece of journalism.

[Conveniently forgetting that the issue was not the bias of the documentary but the fact that the gentleman in question was on record saying these things. Is this simple, confused thinking or a sinister nature?]

[… And finally… ]

I am a very skeptical person. I try not to pass judgment until I have clear and absolute evidence and that isn't always an easy thing to find especially on the internet with the number of sites that are so totally one sided.

I do research before I come to conclusions but some things are really not worthy of the time spent researching because it just doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things.

Charles: … touché to Lynn – eh? Abu?

Touché indeed! I am speechless!

2. Refutation by Association

This tactic is basically attempting to discredit a story by mentioning other false stories… and not considering the possibility that the story may be verifiable.

Since I did not give references, these people thought none existed and they were therefore safe. This is hilarious!

Brian H: Apparently you were the enthusiastic victim of an urban legend. You believed because you wanted to believe.

Lynn in the US: Urban legends go both ways here's another: …

Charles: Some of you may recall that snapshot of a US soldier laughing with an Iraqi boy and holding a cardboard sign saying something like: "I bombed your dad, I raped your sister, and look how happy I am..." … Anyway, the pic was a sham. I never did see the original, but he sure didn't write what a clever left wing photoshop editor propagandist wanted us to think he wrote.

Lynn in the US: I'm not saying that a version of it was not true but it was put out by that website intentionally to get your rage up just as that other thing that I had posted … So who do you think it was that put the Iraqi spin on the letter?

[Now that we are certain that there was a spin on the letter. The next questions is whodunit!]

Charles: The only reason I brought it up is because there was a very similar story with picture circulated right after the war showing a grinning GI bragging about murder and rape. That WAS a fake but I know it caused tens/hundreds of thousands of people across the internet to curse those dirty yanks. The image fit right into what they wanted to believe and no one questioned it. Many probably still have the image seared into their minds. Propaganda works.

Mentioning other ‘sham’ stories is regarded as constituting a valid argument against a claimed incident!

3. Patriotic Sense of Justice
Those people were blaming me for sending a harsh “letter” to Mr. Sekzer to avenge my friend in response to his sending me a “bomb” to avenge his son! Such a sharp sense of justice!

Charles: My point was that Gorman forwarded the request from a very upset father whose son had been deliberately murdered by terrorists. It had nothing to do with patriotism. The request is not so surprising. This man was just lashing out irrationally. That often happens when your son gets murdered.

[Do Iraqi fathers have that right too? Would they receive the same understanding if they send bombs to America… given that they would not be misguided about who killed their sons?]

Lynn in the US: That bomb was going where it was going whether that man had asked for his son's name to go on it or not. The name being on it was only symbolic and as the man told you it was aimed at Osama not innocent Iraqis.

Lynn in the US: I wonder what would have happened to that father had he been visiting Iraq when that e-mail was being sent around?

[No concern or even a word about the countless civilians who were killed by the thousands of similar bombs. What if the poor gentleman visited Iraq and people knew what he had done!!]

Lynn in the US: Abu Khaleel, Further research would have shown you that the man has a completely different view now and is upset that he was misled. Therefore, it would have been completely unnecessary for you to send him a scathing letter.

[If one day OBL has a change of heart and shows remorse, it seems that he may have some sympathizers in America]

Mr. Wilton Sekzer

At the end of all this, I have to give credit to the hero of this story, Mr. Wilton Sekzer, who seemed to regret having asked for his son's name to be on a bomb.

Unfortunately, he was one of the ones who fell for the Iraq War = Al Qaeda-fight reasoning.. but when they interviewed him, at the end of the documentary he seemed pretty irate with Bush for lying about the war. He was disillusioned and felt that the government "exploited my feelings of patriotism for the death of my son."

I must add that I do not regret sending the poor fellow that rather harsh letter. Having one’s innocent son killed does not give one the right to kill other people’s innocent sons… on misguided suspicions.

His regret did not bring those sons who were killed by similar bombs back to their grieving fathers. I want him to fully realize the results of that action. I want him to be even angrier at the people who misled him.

Would it have been possible for your administration to drop more than 3000 bombs in a single day on a city of more than million people and get away with it were it not for a supportive American “misinformed” public like poor Mr. Sekzer?

Would it have been possible to drop 2, 000 lb. bombs on a congested urban areas in Fallujah and elsewhere (more than a year after the end of “major operations”) to target “suspected” terrorists when it was certain that the place was full of innocent civilians (including women and children), without such public apathy?

I am gratified that Mr. Sekzer has regretted that request. I am delighted that Mr. Gorman seems to be a decent man. I want them to read my letter again and again to know the result of that action. Perhaps they will be angry at whoever misled them to believe that bombing people in Iraq was a good revenge for 9/11… angry enough to do something about it.



Got it yet?

Abu Khaleel,

A fascinating analysis... this posting also deserves to be read over and over.

Abu Khaleel,
I empathize with you since you have lived in a brutal dictatorship and wars for probably your whole life. How completely miserable that must be. You now, for the first time in your life (assuming you did not benefit at all from the Sadaam regime), have been given the opportunity to raise your children and grandchildren in a society that is FREE. With that comes a huge responsibility. Since you will no longer have anyone to dictate to you how to think or to live your life you will also have no one to blame for your ills. You, the averge Iraqi citizen and the leaders that you choose must learn and exibit critical thinking skills. Good luck with that! It appears, to the readers of your blog that that (critical thinking skills)seems to be something that has not been learned in your culture. Blame, hyper sensitivity and the inablility to accept any criticism what so ever seems to be at the forefront of your personality. Why is it that you can see something so clearly in others yet be completely blind to the exact same thing in yourself? What was your last post about? He who lives in glass houses should not throw stones? LOL Who in their right mind can even take you seriously anymore?


Abu Khaleel,

This is what we call 'beating a dead dog'.

If your original point was to show that Sekzer did an irrational thing, then no one disagreed. Not one person.

The only thing that happened is that some people showed a wee bit of skepticism based upon some of the contradictions in the story. This after several years of slanderous and false propaganda from the anti-US (or whatever you want to call them - crowd).

Lynn was certainly correct in reminding you that your original, indignant angry letter to Gorman/Sekzer was also based upon an incomplete set of facts. Sekzer turned out not to be the evil civilian smashing monster you had hoped. He was just a man upset at the loss of his son.

Your feigned (or not) righteousness is out of place.

Lynn and Charles,

Did either of you check my links? (Yes, I know Charles, that you read or at least referred to the link regarding the polls).
Either of you could have done your own google searches:NYPD Gorman, Officer Gorman, Wilton Sekzer bomb, Officer Sekzer bomb, NYPD Sekzer bomb.
The information is definitely out there, and I am definitely NOT referring to the propaganda (which is also out there, from the right, the left, and who-knows-what-else).

Be Well,

You wrote that, "A good minority of decent America can see what is happening but there is not much that they can do about it. The rest of America, watches Fox News and waits for developments!"

Such views are, as you probably are aware, over stated. I have repeatedly direct your attention to survey data, from on of the world's most respected foreign policy institutions (the Council On Foreign Relations), which directly refutes your conclusions as to American majority opinion. The survey indicates that Americans are neither uncaring concerning the rest of the world’s needs nor imperialistic.

To my mind, your generalization from the rantings of several jingoistic Americans (I prefer "jingoist" as it is more precise terminology) is equally as flawed as their weak factual analysis of the "Son's Name On a Bomb" incident. Please take a good look at the Council's foreign policy survey data, it directly refutes your implications concerning the American majority. If you want, I can provide the link once again (this would be the third time). The Council is likely to publish new survey data later this summer.

You and I are starting to debate around in circles here. Which reminds me, where has Circular been lately? I just left a post for him on the Glass Houses thread.


Abu Billy,

I posted the link to CNN and referred to BBC documentary very early in discussion (post#13 8:14).

I certainly try to review links that people recommend.

I much prefer to base my opinions on original documents - so I usually dig beyond third party references as well. Of course, time is short.

I wouldn't have mentioned you above save that you wrote "The only thing that happened is that some people showed a wee bit of skepticism based upon some of the contradictions in the story. This after several years of slanderous and false propaganda from the anti-US (or whatever you want to call them - crowd).

Lynn was certainly correct in reminding you that your original, indignant angry letter to Gorman/Sekzer was also based upon an incomplete set of facts. Sekzer turned out not to be the evil civilian smashing monster you had hoped. He was just a man upset at the loss of his son."

Abu Khaleel was clearly not hoping that Sekzer would turn out to be an 'evil civilian smashing monster,' and a simple check of the info on google showed that the story checked out.
I am quite aware that both sides in these discussions can have misguided wishes that the other side be worse than it is. In this case however, Officer Sekzer in 2003 was expressing an opinion which was fairly common here in the states, and the evidence that the bomb was to be dropped on Iraq was more than sufficient.
So far, I don't recall any one who challenged our host, agreeing upon checking the information that his story had credibility. One challenger has accused our host of a lack of critical thinking, without once retracting the original challenge to his account, (which challenge I believe ALL the evidence refutes.)

Be Well,


As a liberal I may be biased and thus unqualified to speak to the issue, but I have observed of myself that when subjected to ad hominem arguments against either me or those with whom I agree, or when exposed repeatedly to such ad hominem remarks, my understanding of the situation tends to become somewhat negative. In this particular case, our host often appears bombarded by the comments from a few Americans, with far fewer Americans supporting his position (and thus coming under attack [and attacking back...]) or taking a neutral position. I believe that among the Americans commenting here you are one of those coming closest to a neutral position, but I'm not sure.

From the American election results and the comments around the net by various 'red-staters', and from the breakdown of comments here and in a number of other blogs, as well as from all of the pontification of the American religious right, I would tend to conclude, RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY, that the majority of Americans think Iraqis are ungrateful wretches, who have no right to complain that things are tough.
I really don't know what the majority of Americans believe any more. On the one hand I've heard and read that our recent election was the closest in history, while on the other I watch movements to marginalize the non-Republicans here in the states.
My own experience in a 'reddish' community in a 'blue' state is as follows:It seems of the people with whom I talked, about 1/3 were uninterested in politics. About 1/3 were conservatives of some sort, and about 1/3 were liberals of some sort.
In our current context, I would guess that both Lynn and I are concerned about Iraqis. However, how we understand those concerns, and what we believe should be done in that light, probably differ enormously.
Given that, I would guess that about 1/3 of Americans are rather too involved in other issues to be overly interested in Iraq; 1/3 believes that we have been doing the right thing, and that Iraqis just need to line up behind us and it'll all eventually work out; and 1/3 believes we've been making serious mistakes, and thinks we really ought to change our tactics.

Be Well,

Dear Abu,
an excellent post. A pity our transatlantic friends of the warmongering persuasion do never learn (see for instance Lynn's & Charles' reaction).

Charles, I added my answers to you on the Calipari case at the end of the comments to Abu Khaleel's previous post.

I think I got it a long time ago, thanks. All this is really about is the confusion in the US over who or what they were at war with, and how they should fight that war. My impression remains that the multiplicity of aims - war on terror, war on the axis of evil and its WMDs, war on tyrants, war on, in and for Iraq, war for democracy and freedom - ultimately reflects confusion also among the present US leadership, so perhaps they did not altogether deliberately intend to mislead people such as Messrs Gorman and Setzler.
(And Charles, Lynn, etc - despite Charles’ propensity to argue incessantly over everything under the sun, repetitively and at tedious length, one gathers that his final position is always going to be the necessity of regime change in Iraq, and he’s fairly fireproof on that. He’s also completely immune to understanding that in terms of ends and means, how this was done is just as important as that it was done - and in my view extremely rude to keep insisting that he, in New Hampshire, knows more about conditions in Iraq than you do living in the middle of it. He appears to know better than you do how many of your friends have been killed or injured. I don’t know why you tolerate it. Charles, it’s pointless asking you not to respond to this, but if you must, how about limiting your reply to a reasonable length, say 300 words maximum - this is about 250 so far. May not be a bad idea for the whole Blog, Abu? Limit posts to 500 words, and just excise anything over?)
Of course, this will be over, because I’ve got to reply to Mark’s question recently posted in "Glass Houses."
Mark, I think a lot of it is about regime change as above - that appears to be the essence of the legal advice given to Blair, that pre-emptive invasion to protect peace by removing threatening weapons might be defensible, but that invasion just for regime change was essentially illegal. (You’ll understand that as a Commonwealth citizen I’ve a bit more respect for British legal opinions than for US ones - much older legal system, politically independent, etc.)
Far as I’m aware, the UN has no mandate for this and has never tried it - even in the Balkans, it was basically committed to its more usual role of keeping warring states apart and/or protecting civilians within them, or sometimes within disrupted states.
This is not necessarily to say that the UN, or some other world body, should not in time adopt or evolve towards such a "policeman" role, but I don’t see it as an easy task to define - how bad internally does a regime have to be, what do you measure, etc? Try and decide whether Zimbabwe, say, or Burma, two longstanding corrupt and repressive regimes, are actually ripe for invasion. Not that simple?
And of course I don’t have to repeat my reservations about the US unilaterally taking upon itself the role of world policeman, particularly under the leadership of your present faith-based and ideologically driven regime, who as I said at the start seem to have been a bit confused about what they were doing all along. I mean, do you agree that what’s happened in Iraq has been far, far messier, and more costly of life and limb, than it needed to have been if the professionals, ie State and the Chiefs of Staff, had been listened to about the likely difficulties of an occupation? I blame Rumsfeld more than Bush, perhaps.

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

I thought this was a great post and it did show the very subtle ways people refuse to think and to accept reality. It's too bad the human brain is so prone to denial and lack of empathy.

And ugh that Lynn was totally infuriating!


Now, Charles, since you mention Sgrena, let's bring up what you wrote from the comments page to the previous Abu Khaleel's post.

"Excerpts from Italian report don't provide any facts. And nothing that contradicts US report".
Are you kidding? I provided the link to the Italian original. Do not trust excerpts, have somebody translate it for you.

"You may think American soldiers are a disgrace, etc., etc., but the truth is coming out that what they said from beginning was more or less correct - and that makes Sgrena worse than just a liar. She tried to take advantage of the tragic death of a brave officer, who died to save her, for her own propaganda purposes".
Again, Charles, who are you trying to fool? According to the Italian report, the testimonies of the US soldiers were "unreliable and contradictory", and the two Italian 'observers' (an Ambassador & a General) in the 'investigating commission' were not allowed to interrogate them. Sgrena's testimony was IDENTICAL and consistent in contents to the one by Major Carpani, the driver, a Carabiniere, who had no "political propaganda purposes". Both testimonies were considered as the most reliable in the Italian report.

"the initial reports from Italian sources that drove the anti-US media frenzy - were false".
Let's see.

"There was no deliverate [deliberate] attempt to assassinate Sgrena".
Yes, this is what the Italian report concluded. The deliberate attempt by that Mario Lozano & his patrol was just to murder, not assassinate, anybody who was in that car, like your 'American Heroes', cowardly trembling with fear, do everyday at checkpoints all over Iraq, murdering plenty of Iraqi civilians.

"The Italians did not inform the US of the operation".
No, Charles. The Italian report states precisely the OPPOSITE. Why do you lie?

"Sgrena admitted the car was driving so fast they almost lost control".
No, she DID NOT. You are referring to what she said about driving INSIDE Baghdad, between the place of her rescue and the Green Zone. Again, why do you lie?

"Caprani admitted to driving fast to airport and to accelerating when he heard the warning shots".
That's what a US soldier (one of the murderers) stated of having been told by Caprani after they shot the car, not what Caprani told the investigators, either Americans or Italians. You wouldn't make a good lawyer, it seems.

"The car was not riddled with hundreds of bullets. One soldier fired several bursts from a machine gun".
Yes, it was riddled with only 11 (eleven) bullets from a heavy machine gun. The Italian report states that: A) there is no way to ascertain how many bullets were shot & by whom, since the Americans cleaned up the crime scene very very fast, and didn't keep track of the magazines; B) the crime scene, precisely, was cleaned up immediately beyond recognition.

"It just sounds to me like one of those days when everything that could go wrong did go wrong".
Soooo strange that such days are the rule in Iraq, wherever US troops are near.

"Shame on Sgrena".
No, Charles: shame on you.


"Do not trust excerpts, have somebody translate it for you."

I agree. Although all news stories covering situation seem to say the same thing - that there were no factual discrepencies.

Could you please at least paraphrase the section from Italian report that explains in detail how the Italians informed the US chain of command about operation and when? The US report is absolutely clear on this.

Could you paraphrase the drivers testimony regarding speed, attentiveness, and his reaction when firing started? His direct statements in US report are clear. They were speeding and distracted. Sgrena said the same thing about almost losing control of vehicle.

I will keep looking for English version...

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Lynn said:

[lots of unjustified, arrogant, condescending drivel followed by:]
"Who in their right mind can even take you seriously anymore?"

I do.

Abu Khaleel is clearly highly intelligent and knowledgeable and quite accomplished in the art of critical thinking, your bogus claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Hello Lynn,
"I empathize with you since you have lived in a brutal dictatorship and wars for probably your whole life. How completely miserable that must be. You now, for the first time in your life (assuming you did not benefit at all from the Sadaam regime), have been given the opportunity to raise your children and grandchildren in a society that is FREE."
Lynn, I am a surprised that an American can be so blinded as to forget her own history. In 1865, the Union Army conquered the South, freeing millions of slaves. But freedom didn't come as terrorism thrived in the bitterness of defeat. Even an occupying army failed to bring security and eventually left, leaving blacks in conditions called 'worse than slavery'.
"Since you will no longer have anyone to dictate to you how to think or to live your life you will also have no one to blame for your ills."
Now you blame a failed occupation on the Iraqi people.
You need to look deeper into yourself and not simply throw rocks.
"Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-G. Santayana

Abu Khaleel,

What are the polling numbers on the question:

"Would you support Saddam being reinstated back in power?"


"Worse than slavery?"

Ask any African American if they would prefer a return to slavery. I dare you...

I wonder what they would have said in 1867? 1870? 1900? Perhaps many would have prefered the stability of the old ways. Sometimes a bad 'massa' is better than 'no massa' - 'sa'.

In Russia today you will still find many a babushka pining for the glory days of the soviet union when a kilo of potatoes cost 5 kopecs. I know a few who certainly ARE NOT. My wife's great grandfather was murdered by Stalin.

The 'failed' occupation, as you call it, has supported one of the most massive enfranchisements in ME history. No doubt you were one of the folks raising your voice against the elections.

I'm so glad the Iraqis weren't listening.

It will be a long struggle against a brutal and utterly ruthless enemy, but don't you think its early to declare 'failure?'

A famous Nast cartoon of the 1870s shows a black 'freedman' cowering under a klansman and a white vigilante(terrorists). The caption is 'Worse than Slavery'. The point I raise is that the military occupation of the south from 1865-1875 failed completely and left blacks actually worse off than under slavery.
"It will be a long struggle against a brutal and utterly ruthless enemy, but don't you think its early to declare 'failure?'"
No, the US occupation is a 100% failure , so I can only hope that Iraqis can themselves can reunify their country. This seems about a 50:50 possibility over partition. Frankly, if reunification meant dragging some of the Sunnis leaders into their parliment against their 'will'I don't have a problem with that. I do know that they have stated that US withdrawl is their main objection. Longer this process of Sunni inclusion takes the less likely it is that Iraq will stay intact, so from my point of view US troops are the biggest roadblock to peace.

Abu Khaleel said:

"• If you state anything that super-patriots regard as an attack or even a criticism, they will take an attacking position and strike back, regardless of the facts. If you criticize their lot, you have to be wrong.

• It is an extremely difficult task to convince some American Saddamists of something even if you have irrefutable proof.

• It is unlikely that much of the body of American Saddamists will change their mind even in the face of emerging proofs and unavoidable evidence.

What is this? Tribalism? I happen to be quite familiar with tribalism. This is far worse."

It is a form of fanatical nationalism. The people you describe as "Super-Patriots" are not operating on a rational level, but rather an emotional one -- thus their imperviousness to facts or reason.

At bottom, they have a deep felt, religious-like conviction that their country is "good" and "noble", and therefore whatever it does is also good and noble.

Further, their own personal sense of self identity is so intertwined with these emotional beliefs about their country that any criticism of what their country does is personally threatening to themselves and must be fiercely resisted.

Such fanatical nationalism is extremely dangerous, for obvious reasons. History has demonstrated more than once how much havoc can be wrought by peoples who give themselves over to such blindly unthinking emotionalism.

I've been closely following the Iraqi blogs since they first started appearing after the fall of the former government to US forces. After a while there is a repetitive quality to the postings of the bloggers as well as the readers. Whatever the argument or point, evidence is used selectively to support the position without regard to the validity of arguments presented by the other side. At times it is breathtaking to see the extent of the sophistry conjured up to prop up a clearly untenable or unjustified position. So this blog becomes a person pretty much against whatever the US might do or have done regarding Iraq with comments of apologists for the US position and vehemently anti-American in opposition. Neither side will grant the other any point and tenuous evidence is used to reinforce their fixed opinions. As for myself, I think it is a good thing that the Baathist dictatorship was overthrown and that much of the protests now are from people who were disenfranchised by this regime change, were and are anti-American by temperment, or who are on the extreme left wing. I am horrified at the lack of any expression of disapproval at the use of suicide bombers and beheadings and a focus which excuses these barbaric acts. I am likewise dissapointed at those who refuse to realize that mistakes and at times criminal behavior have occurred by US forces in the region. In the long term there will be a gradual decrease in terrorist attacks as democratic institutions mature in Iraq, the imported religious fanatics self-destruct, and Sunni elements come to terms with their loss of privledge and power and are integrated into a new society.

I dont understand what you are talking about.
Its all simple and clear.
If you come to my house and behave well i will make sure that you will feel comfortable and nice.
But if you come to smash my furniture and steal my money, I will throw you out!

It isnt harder than that.
Good Luck to All!

Where do these people come from ? Who in America has time to write these long-winded postings to insult and argue against such a brilliant man as Abu K., if only to show their ignorance and stupidity...? It hurts me to hear what our country looks like to Abu K., it saddens me to know he is probably correct. I read these blogs because my son is fighting in Iraq. Why do you read them?

I think what he's trying to say, is look at the information and not the attacks.

If you read the first paragraph of this article, it explains all of this. Everything after that was specific attacks designed to make people react just as you have.

Which is probably why Abu has not responded at all.

Waiting patiently for the next article,


And isn't it odd how they all end up sounding like one person.

Interesting muddying tactic (variant on "American Saddamist" tactic)- just subtley imply that all your critics are marxist imposters in disguise and that the louder they get the more like socialists they sound. That way the real rightwingers tone it down - there's no point in carrying on if everything they write means the opposite, and the marxist imposters tone it down while they go confer on strategy.

I just wish it were that easy to neuter real bombs.

dear Abu Khaleel--

i just followed a link here from a poster at dailykos...

we are not all insane warmongers, although you seem to be beset by such over here (maybe we sane Americans are just spread a little too thin, these days?)

anyway, i just wanted to thank you for try to add to the reasoned debate of issues, and for letting people respond--even when they are impolite or even rude in their opposition to what you have written.

don't be overly discouraged if you seem to always hear only from the rude folks--many people may read you, think about what you say, but never respond in kind. keep writing for those people!

Librarian (via dKos)

(PS--IMO, even if the "name on a bomb" story is a not factual, what does it say about my fellow countrymen if the "tale" is still passed around as if we should applaud it? just as bad! you can learn many things about a people from their "stories"--true ones and made-up ones as well!)

I don't know, I think that the host, I'm new here, is just trying to use this "put my sons name on a bomb" story to reopen the justification for this war debate. I could be wrong, but I find it hard to believe that anyone would care what was painted on a bomb. Or who asked that something de put there. Maybe for your next post you can do an exposé of the nose paint on the war planes! Make sure to include pictures.

On your other points, America is an incredibly diverse country full of individuals. I really doubt that you could possibly see a cross section of American opinions just from the commentaries on your blog.

Abu khaleel

Not all american are the same,
here is a script written by an American, he mention a lot of facts about the real causes of invasion.

Iraqi Self-Determination
We cannot allow Bush to define 'democracy'

by Naomi Klein May 09, 2005

[PLEASE NOTE: This is a transcript of a talk Naomi gave several weeks ago, first published in In These Times]

The central question we need to answer is this: What were the real reasons for the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq?

When we identify why we really went to war - not the cover reasons or the rebranded reasons, freedom and democracy, but the real reasons - then we can become more effective anti-war activists. The most effective and strategic way to stop this occupation and prevent future wars is to deny the people who wage these wars their spoils - to make war unprofitable. And we can't do that unless we effectively identify the goals of war.

When I was in Iraq a year ago trying to answer that question, one of the most effective ways I found to do that was to follow the bulldozers and construction machinery. I was in Iraq to research the so-called reconstruction. And what struck me most was the absence of reconstruction machinery, of cranes and bulldozers, in downtown Baghdad. I expected to see reconstruction all over the place.

I saw bulldozers in military bases. I saw bulldozers in the Green Zone, where a huge amount of construction was going on, building up Bechtel's headquarters and getting the new US embassy ready. There was also a ton of construction going on at all of the US military bases. But, on the streets of Baghdad, the former ministry buildings are absolutely untouched. They hadn't even cleared away the rubble, let alone started the reconstruction process.

The one crane I saw in the streets of Baghdad was hoisting an advertising billboard. One of the surreal things about Baghdad is that the old city lies in ruins, yet there are these shiny new billboards advertising the glories of the global economy. And the message is: "Everything you were before isn't worth rebuilding." We're going to import a brand-new country. It is the Iraq version of the "Extreme Makeover."

It's not a coincidence that Americans were at home watching this explosion of extreme reality television shows where people's bodies were being surgically remade and their homes were being bulldozed and reconstituted. The message of these shows is: Everything you are now, everything you own, everything you do sucks. We're going to completely erase it and rebuild it with a team of experts. You just go limp and let the experts take over. That is exactly what "Extreme Makover:Iraq" is.

There was no role for Iraqis in this process. It was all foreign companies modernizing the country. Iraqis with engineering Ph.D.s who built their electricity system and who built their telephone system had no place in the reconstruction process.

If we want to know what the goals of the war are, we have to look at what Paul Bremer did when he first arrived in Iraq. He laid off 500,000 people, 400,000 of whom were soldiers. And he shredded Iraq's constitution and wrote a series of economic laws that the The Economist described as "the wish list of foreign investors."

Basically, Iraq has been turned into a laboratory for the radical free-market policies that the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute dream about in Washington, D.C., but are only able to impose in relative slow motion here at home.

So we just have to examine the Bush administration's policies and actions. We don't have to wield secret documents or massive conspiracy theories. We have to look at the fact that they built enduring military bases and didn't rebuild the country. Their very first act was to protect the oil ministry leaving the the rest of the country to burn - to which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded: "Stuff happens." Theirs was an almost apocalyptic glee in allowing Iraq to burn. They let the country be erased, leaving a blank slate that they could rebuild in their image This was the goal of the war. The big lie The administration says the war was about fighting for democracy. That was the big lie they resorted to when they were caught in the other lies. But it's a different kind of a lie in the sense that it's a useful lie. The lie that the United States invaded Iraq to bring freedom and democracy not just to Iraq but, as it turns out, to the whole world, is tremendously useful - because we can first expose it as a lie and then we can join with Iraqis to try to make it true. So it disturbs me that a lot of progressives are afraid to use the language of democracy now that George W. Bush is using it. We are somehow giving up on the most powerful emancipatory ideas ever created, of self-determination, liberation and democracy.

And it's absolutely crucial not to let Bush get away with stealing and defaming these ideas - they are too important.

In looking at democracy in Iraq, we first need to make the distinction between elections and democracy. The reality is the Bush administration has fought democracy in Iraq at every turn.

Why? Because if genuine democracy ever came to Iraq, the real goals of the war - control over oil, support for Israel, the construction of enduring military bases, the privatization of the entire economy - would all be lost. Why? Because Iraqis don't want them and they don't agree with them. They have said it over and over again - first in opinion polls, which is why the Bush administration broke its original promise to have elections within months of the invasion. I believe Paul Wolfowitz genuinely thought that Iraqis would respond like the contestants on a reality TV show and say: "Oh my God. Thank you for my brand-new shiny country." They didn't. They protested that 500,000 people had lost their jobs. They protested the fact that they were being shut out of the reconstruction of their own country, and they made it clear they didn't want permanent US bases.

That's when the administration broke its promise and appointed a CIA agent as the interim prime minister. In that period they locked in - basically shackled - Iraq's future governments to an International Monetary Fund program until 2008. This will make the humanitarian crisis in Iraq much, much deeper. Here's just one example: The IMF and the World Bank are demanding the elimination of Iraq's food ration program, upon which 60 percent of the population depends for nutrition, as a condition for debt relief and for the new loans that have been made in deals with an unelected government.

In these elections, Iraqis voted for the United Iraqi Alliance. In addition to demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of troops, this coalition party has promised that they would create 100 percent full employment in the public sector - i.e., a total rebuke of the neocons' privatization agenda. But now they can't do any of this because their democracy has been shackled. In other words, they have the vote, but no real power to govern. A pro-democracy movement The future of the anti-war movement requires that it become a pro-democracy movement. Our marching orders have been given to us by the people of Iraq. It's important to understand that the most powerful movement against this war and this occupation is within Iraq itself. Our anti-war movement must not just be in verbal solidarity but in active and tangible solidarity with the overwhelming majority of Iraqis fighting to end the occupation of their country. We need to take our direction from them.

Iraqis are resisting in many ways - not just with armed resistance. They are organizing independent trade unions. They are opening critical newspapers, and then having those newspapers shut down. They are fighting privatization in state factories. They are forming new political coalitions in an attempt to force an end to the occupation.

So what is our role here? We need to support the people of Iraq and their clear demands for an end to both military and corporate occupation. That means being the resistance ourselves in our country, demanding that the troops come home, that US corporations come home, that Iraqis be free of Saddam's debt and the IMF and World Bank agreements signed under occupation. It doesn't mean blindly cheerleading for "the resistance." Because there isn't just one resistance in Iraq. Some elements of the armed resistance are targeting Iraqi civilians as they pray in Shia mosques - barbaric acts that serve the interests of the Bush administration by feeding the perception that the country is on the brink of civil war and therefore US forces must remain in Iraq. Not everyone fighting the US occupation is fighting for the freedom of all Iraqis; some are fighting for their own elite power. That's why we need to stay focused on supporting the demands for self-determination, not cheering any setback for US empire.

And we can't cede the language, the territory of democracy. Anybody who says Iraqis don't want democracy should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Iraqis are clamoring for democracy and had risked their lives for it long before this invasion - in the 1991 uprising against Saddam, for example, when they were left to be slaughtered. The elections in January took place only because of tremendous pressure from Iraqi Shia communities that insisted on getting the freedom they were promised. "The courage to be serious" Many of us opposed this war because it was an imperial project. Now Iraqis are struggling for the tools that will make self-determination meaningful, not just for show elections or marketing opportunities for the Bush administration. That means it's time, as Susan Sontag said, to have "the courage to be serious." The reason why the 58 percent of Americans against the war has not translated into the same millions of people on the streets that we saw before the war is because we haven't come forward with a serious policy agenda. We should not be afraid to be serious.

Part of that seriousness is to echo the policy demands made by voters and demonstrators in the streets of Baghdad and Basra and bring those demands to Washington, where the decisions are being made.

But the core fight is over respect for international law, and whether there is any respect for it at all in the United States. Unless we're fighting a core battle against this administration's total disdain for the very idea of international law, then the specifics really don't matter.

We saw this very clearly in the US presidential campaign, as John Kerry let Bush completely set the terms for the debate. Recall the ridicule of Kerry's mention of a "global test," and the charge that it was cowardly and weak to allow for any international scrutiny of US actions. Why didn't Kerry ever challenge this assumption? I blame the Kerry campaign as much as I blame the Bush administration. During the elections, he never said "Abu Ghraib." He never said "Guant?namo Bay." He accepted the premise that to submit to some kind of "global test" was to be weak. Once they had done that, the Democrats couldn't expect to win a battle against Alberto Gonzales being appointed attorney general, when they had never talked about torture during the campaign.

And part of the war has to be a media war in this country. The problem is not that the anti-war voices aren't there - it's that the voices aren't amplified. We need a strategy to target the media in this country, making it a site of protest itself. We must demand that the media let us hear the voices of anti-war critics, of enraged mothers who have lost their sons for a lie, of betrayed soldiers who fought in a war they didn't believe in. And we need to keep deepening the definition of democracy - to say that these show elections are not democracy, and that we don't have a democracy in this country either.

Sadly, the Bush administration has done a better job of using the language of responsibility than we in the anti-war movement. The message that's getting across is that we are saying "just leave," while they are saying, "we can't just leave, we have to stay and fix the problem we started."

We can have a very detailed, responsible agenda and we shouldn't be afraid of it. We should be saying, "Let's pull the troops out but let's leave some hope behind." We can't be afraid to talk about reparations, to demand freedom from debt for Iraq, a total abandonment of Bremer's illegal economic laws, full Iraqi control over the reconstruction budget - there are many more examples of concrete policy demands that we can and must put forth. When we articulate a more genuine definition of democracy than we are hearing from the Bush administration, we will bring some hope to Iraq. And we will bring closer to us many of the 58 percent who are opposed to the war but aren't marching with us yet because they are afraid of cutting and running.

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